Special Ops candidates recuperate at AIS

At the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Special Operations Command’s (SOCOMD) newest candidates slowly recovered after putting their bodies through Army’s toughest course: Special Forces common selection.

CAPTIONCandidates who successfully completed the 2024 Special Forces Selection Course recover at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Story and photos by Major Roger Brennan.

“Yeah, I pulled up all right,” said one candidate, nursing the after-effects of the gruelling three-week activity.

“It’s good to get some sleep and decent food under the belt.”

SOCOMD human performance manager Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) M said there was no secret to recovery from such an arduous event. The fundamentals were good-quality sleep, nutrition, access to recovery modalities and a graduated return to movement, which supports a return to a healthier mental and physiological state.

“Longitudinal research conducted within SOCOMD has provided us insights into the physiological effects of selection,” WO1 M said.

“The candidates lose significant body mass, their endocrine and immune systems are challenged and they are heavily fatigued when they arrive.

“The AIS is a great partner for the Army and SOCOMD, and together we provide candidates with access to state-of-the-art recovery equipment and education to prepare them for their future employment within SOCOMD, including the next iteration of training ­– the Special Forces reinforcement cycle.”

AIS performance services manager Julian Jones said the facilities in Canberra were a one-stop shop for recovery.

“There is lots of similarities between athletes competing at the highest level and those returning from selection,” Mr Jones said.

“The hydrotherapy, pools, dieticians, gyms, accommodation and dining halls allow us to easily integrate candidates, share best practice, then monitor the results.”

The support included physios, psychologists, personal training instructors and selection wing staff who guided the candidates through the recovery modules. They also let them see how they performed against the 13 personal attributes required for service in SOCOMD.

“We assess character as well as fitness and physical biology,” WO1 M said.

“Finding out your results can be confronting, but the more you know yourself, the more you can work on areas that need it.

“The selection process is as much about empowerment as it is a test.”

CAPTIONSpecial Operations Command human performance manager Warrant Officer Class 1 M, left, and AIS performance services manager Julian Jones.


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